The high school movie exists because of an innate desire, within filmmakers and audiences, to fashion adolescence into a more fulfilling narrative than it probably was/is. And Nobuhiro Yamashita’s Linda Linda Linda, in which three Japanese schoolgirls and a Korean exchange student singer learn three songs (including the impossibly catchy title track) by 80s pop-punk band the Blue Hearts in time for the senior talent show, might be expected to ascend the customary post-Hughes heights of romantic excess. Thankfully, though, Yamashita’s dry, widescreen-witty direction emulates the genre’s more enduring clique, the one that zeroes in on casual hangout sessions as the core of the high school experience. Or maybe he’s just pacing himself in anticipation of the climactic performance: if your high school exit scene topped Linda Linda Linda’s — standing soaking wet in your gym, in front of everyone you know, screaming an anthem that starts “Let’s sing an endless song for this asshole of a world” — then you probably don’t need its nostalgia-justifying singalong catharsis. But in that case, where the hell did you go to high school?
Opens November 10 at ImaginAsian